I'm numb to it all

I should probably be a little more affected by the fact that a good percentage of my close friends are moving away. First it was Jason last month. No big deal, he's just one of many. Then Renee headed out of town last weekend. Donovan and Amy W. are leaving next week. Amy L. is leaving next week, too. Erin, my favorite co-worker, is also gone as of this week.

That's the risk of befriending grad students and people married to grad students, I guess. Eventually, they're all going to pack their bags. And so am I, most likely in a year.

The sheer number of friends I'm losing to other locales hasn't really hit home yet, I suppose due to the fact that everyone is leaving at the same time. I haven't had time to really get stuck on any particular person's departure, because there's always someone else right around the corner who's saying goodbye. I'm sure in mid-August there will be a night when those remaining will meet up for drinks at Mike & Molly's and then it will hit us all: Oh, it's just us left. Hmmm.

I dread that day.


Summer mixin'

I finished the sequel to last summer's mix, which is still available for download. This summer's mix is a bit longer and hence not suitable for download. But let me know if you'd like a copy, and I'll mail you one. Like last summer's mix, it's a psychedelic venture with plenty of instrumentals, all blended together into one long track – perfect music to listen to while soaking up some sunshine.

The Blues Control is No. 1!
01 Blues Control – "Blues Control"
02 Offside – "Small Deal"
03 Them Two – "Am I a Good Man"
04 Oscar and the Majestics – "House of the Rising Sun"
05 Vanijairam – "Thanimayil"
06 Mulatu Astatqe – "Yekermo sew"
07 Yura Yura Teikoku – "It was a Robot"
08 The Seeds – "Fallin"
09 Panda Bear – "Ponytail"
10 Yabby U – "Hungering Dub"
11 Fela – "Zombie"
12 Bango – "Rock Dream"
13 Blue Cheer – "Babylon"
14 The Mops – "San Franciscan Nights"
15 Blues Control – "Boiled Peanuts"


10 things I learned over the past week

1) I like tennis again. When I was a kid, tennis fascinated me. I remember watching Boris Becker and John McEnroe and Martina Navratilova and Steffi Graf do battle at Wimbledon, and just being in awe of the game. I specifically enjoyed how quiet the game was when watching on TV, how I could hear every grunt from the players and the smack of the ball off the top of the net on a failed serve. I never played tennis when I was a youngster — there just wasn't a culture of tennis where I grew up — but I did watch a good deal of it on TV, in the few instances that it was televised. Well, I've fallen back in love with tennis again, in large part because ...

2) I've started playing tennis again. While it's taken me a while to shake off the rust — I hadn't played consistently in about a decade — I'm starting to get the hang of it again. And after this week, I now know that I can beat Donovan in tennis, at least in a short match. I was beginning to wonder about that.

3) I'm enjoying my new baseball trivia blog. You should, too.

4) My entire family visited this Saturday. While it was a bit overwhelming and M is a lifesaver, the entire process was less of a struggle than I anticipated. Much grilled food was consumed, horseshoes (damn my dad is good for someone with a replaced hip and knee) and bocce (the victors!) were played, and my brother even briefly rediscovered his old Clash records. I don't share much in common with my family, but I have grown to enjoy hanging out with them in small intervals.

5) Sophie the Cat did not enjoy the company. She had to share her loft space with sleeping guests, and that had her even more moody than usual.

6) I need to wear protective goggles or glasses while mowing the yard. Our woodsy backyard has too many small sticks, pine cones, and wood bark lying around, and those things do not feel good when they strike you after being spit out of a mower.

7) My back yard is tolerable in the 90-degree heat. The above mentioned woodsy feel has one benefit in shade.

8) People who light off firecrackers at three in the morning three days after the 4th should lose a finger or limb in the process so they remember the next time they consider repeating the process that it wasn't such a good idea.

9) I'm saddened that my baseline hook shot was not named to the updated list of the 7 Wonders of the World. Clearly, people worldwide need to get outside more often and experience all that the 30-something Champaign-Urbana elementary court basketball league has to offer.

10) Rick Ankiel needs to be freed. The AAA slugger now has 26 homers. Sure, most of those have come against lesser talent, but for the love of baseball, fans in St. Louis need something worthwhile to cheer for at the major league level. Bring him up already!


Post-fireworks "Fireworks"

The 'Fork released a teaser to the upcoming Animal Collective album, Strawberry Jam, due to drop in September. The video for "Fireworks" is nothing to write home about — typically odd and missing a narrative — but the song is spectacular. They're moving in a Flaming Lips direction with this one.

P.S. Two new Destroyer songs. Woo-hoo!


That old familiar feeling

Expect more posts here, as I'm back in the blogging mood after a grueling three months at the day job and a tiring move to a new house. First some sad news: Jukebox Upchuck/Good Moanin', my music blog(s), is dead. I just don't have the desire to keep it going when there are so many other worthwhile music blogs that I'd rather read instead of keeping up my own site. But some good news: inspired in part by my friends recent trivia nights, I have a new daily trivia blog. (Sorry, non-baseball fans, it's specific to the diamond.) If you know any fans of the game, please pass along the good word.